China Book Reviews: Learning Chinese
Mandarin: Lonely Planet Phrasebook
Responding to criticisms of earlier editions of this phrasebook, pinyin has been re-introduced for the 6th edition. This handy, color-coded, pocket-size phrasebook is a definite improvement on early editions. The book begins with an introduction to the sounds of Mandarin and the all-important tones followed by grammar rules in an A-Z quick phrase-builder. Subsequent sections include phrases group according to situation and function: transport, meeting people, food, health etc. Finally thre is an alphabetical English-Mandarin dictionary and a Mandarin-English dictionary ordered by the number of strokes in the featured characters from one stroke to 16-23 strokes. The book is pleasantly laid out, illustrated throughout and includes useful cultural notes on the topics covered.
Rough Guide To Mandarin Chinese
This dictionary phrasebook is a excellent tool for beginners of Mandarin and introduces the learner to working with Pinyin from the outset in the opening section on forming and using common, everyday phrases. The English to Chinese dictionary section offers 160 pages of words and phrases interspersed with cultural usage notes which are a feature of Rough Guides' dictionary phrasebooks. Each word or phrase is given in Pinyin, a phonetic spelling and usefully the Chinese characters. There are then over 50 pages of Chinese to English words and phrases alphabetized using Pinyin spelling. There are further chapters on interpreting the Chinese characters on signs and restaurant menus. Another plus is the clear marking of the tones above the Pinyin transliteration. Recommended.
Speak E-Z Chinese In Phonetic English
This "fun" phrasebook co-authored by Timothy Green and Fang Zhao aims to help learners master Chinese pronunciation as smoothly and quickly as possible. Speak E-Z Chinese begins with a pronunciation guide to replace pinyin with a phonetic English approximation and introduces the four tones. Basic essential phrases are covered in their context, leading to longer sentence construction. The phrases introduced also cover some topics not usually found in other language guides such as how to curse and swear in Chinese and tell someone you love them as well as the more mainstream money, food, hotels, travel and time expressions. the sometimes racy expressions covered may not be to everyone's taste so be forewarned. The book's English-based phonetic approach to pronunciation and the tones also divides opinion. Some people love the approach; others believe there is no substitute for learning the pinyin. The book concludes with a handy 100-plus page phrasal dictionary.
ECTACO iTRAVL NTL-2Ch English <-> Chinese Talking 2-way Language Communicator and Electronic Dictionary
This model from Ectaco features English-Chinese and Chinese-English sentence translation, and includes proverb translation, idiom translation, slang and colloquial translation.
Built-in dictionaries include: The New Oxford Illustrated English-Chinese Dictionary, English-Chinese Dictionary, Chinese-English Dictionary, English Dictionary, Chinese Dictionary, Network Dictionary and English-Chinese Supplementary Dictionary, a dictionary of Economics, dictionary of Law and dictionary of Medicine, with pronunciation of English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Voxware female voice system for all words in The New Oxford Illustrated English-Chinese Dictionary, with male voice system equipped.
Also included are: Digital memo recording function, carrying pouch, communication (COM port) cable which allows Telephone Directory, Memo, and Schedule to be transmitted to PC, earphones, 110V&220V Power Adapter, 4 regular AAA batteries.
Pinyin input and output is a transliteration system that allows you to read and write Chinese using the Latin alphabet. It requires users to enter a series of standard symbol combinations which are then able to be read as an accurate, standardized approximation of the Chinese language. The Pinyin system of input and output is the most popular and easy to use methods of communicating in Chinese without using hieroglyphs.
Buy this dictionary from Amazon USA | UK | Japan
Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters Volume 1: A Revolutionary New Way to Learn and Remember the 800 Most Basic Chinese Characters
Co-authored by husband and wife team Alison and Laurence Matthews, this well-reviewed book is a study aid to help students of Chinese remember the essential Chinese characters through visual imagery. Introducing the first, most basic 800 characters in simplified Chinese (the traditional character is also given in parentheses, if different) the book explains how Chinese characters are formed and their correct stroke order. Each character is introduced through images and specific stories revolving around the character to act as a mnemonic for the character and its tone. Simple words using character combinations are also introduced. The methodology of this mnemonic approach is similar to James Heisig's ground-breaking book on learning Japanese kanji characters - Remembering The Kanji - but offers more support for the student. Highly recommended.
Cantonese: Lonely Planet Phrasebook
Concise, lightweight and to-the-point, Lonely Planet's Cantonese Phrasebook packs a lot in to its 260 pages. Color-coded throughout, this handy book is divided into easy-to-search sections: introduction, tools, practical, social, food, safe travel, sustainable travel etc. The back of the book has English-Cantonese and Cantonese-English dictionaries and an index. Each phrase comes in English, written Cantonese characters and with an in-house simplified transliteration based on the Yale system (though not Yale itself) to show the pronunciation. The "Tools" section outlines the tones and basic grammar with the body of the book dedicated to language in various situations - shopping, sightseeing, meeting people, travel etc. This section is pretty comprehensive for the casual traveler, so if you need to say "Let's use a condom," it's here - 'yung bay yan to l' as is "Do you sell Fair Trade products? - 'l y m gg pg mau yik ge chn b maai.' A useful pocket book for anyone considering travel in a Cantonese-speaking area.